Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

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Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Duck! » Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:02 pm

Hey folks, I've had this bouncing around in my head for a while, as the subject of compatibility comes up to some extent fairly frequently. So here's a fairly comprehensive run-through of what works, how well, and what doesn't work. There are some "holes" still to be explored, but I'll address those when the opportunity presents itself.

Drivetrain:

There is a lot more flexibility here than Shimano will have us believe. Starting with shifter/rear derailleur pairings, all 7,8 & 9-sp. road & MTB, plus road 10-sp (with the probable exception of new 4700 Tiagra) will work in any combination. This is especially handy for people who wish to fit wide-range cassettes into older (more than the last four years or so) drive systems where the rear derailleur is only capable of fitting under a 28T sprocket maximum.

MTB 10-sp. derailleurs & shifters (all marked with the "Dyna-Sys" tag) will NOT work with any road gear. I experimented mixing M770-10 Deore XT 10-sp. with both 6600 10-sp. RD & shifter (two-way switch), and with a 9000 Dura-Ace 11-sp. RD, with no success in any combination.

Road 11-sp. is also a unique family, although indications (yet to be confirmed) are that 4700 Tiagra (which is still 10-sp.) will be a match. Certainly the derailleur & shifter architeture suggest it to be the case.

There are unconfirmed reports that MTB 11-sp. will work with MTB 10-sp, but I am yet to put this to the test. Should this be the case, there will be no compatibility with road 11-sp.

As a general guide, there is no compatibility with other brands. Exceptions are the kind of bottom-dwelling rubbish found on BSOs you would prefer not to use anyway.

Front derailleurs/shifters:

Again, there is far greater compatibility than Shimano would have us believe. Although the geometry of MTB front derailleurs can be quite different to road, and there are several versions of road derailleurs - older conventional (7800, its direct descendents + earlier sets), newer conventional (7900 & relatives) designed for wider chainring spacing, long-arm (9000 & descendents) & flat-bar specific - the differences are so subtle that there isn't really any combination that just doesn't work. Just play with cable tension to get it right.

If setting up a custom-spec component set, pairing the derailleur to the crank is more critical than the shifter - road crank, road derailleur; MTB crank, MTB derailleur. The curve & contouring of the cage is optimised for particular cranks sizes & types, so use that as your guide. Similarly, newer road cranks (7900 & later) which have wider chainring spacing to reduce cross-chaining noise will pair better with a newer front derailleur, which has a little more "swing" to suit.

Front derailleur/shifter compaibility with other brands is reasonably good.

Chains, cassettes, cranks:

As a general rule, things aren't particularly fussy in this area, including mixing other brands. The first major point is simply to ensure that the number of gears in the cassette matches the shifter. Surprisingly, people still get that wrong. Referring back to our 7/8/9 road 10-sp. interchangeability, the leverage ratio - how much cable is pulled to move the derailleur a given distance - is the same. What differs is the amount of cable pulled between the indexing points in the shifter. The exception is 7 & 8-sp. The same sprocket spacing, therefore shifter indexing is used, so you can run a 7-sp. cassette with an 8-sp. shifter and just lock out the 8th gear position. Chains get progressively narrower as more gears are introduced (again the exception being 7 & 8-sp, which are the same). You can go a step either way out of spec without major hassles, but it's not advisable to go more; wider chain doesn't mesh as nicely between the sprockets, so gets noisy, while narrower chain can jam on wider chainrings.

The second major point is inter-brand compatibility. SRAM adopts Shimano standards of sprocket spacing, related chain width and freehub spline pattern (with two exceptions, which I'll get to soon), so there is very high compatibility. The exceptions are MTB 11-sp, which due to SRAM's use of a 10T top gear requires a specific freehub, while Shimano fits on a regular 8/9/10-sp. hub; and road 10-sp to a limited extent. When Shimano introduced 10-sp cassettes, they also brought in a specific freehub with a deeper spline, which will only accept Dura-Ace, Ultegra and 105 cassettes. SRAM, and virtually all aftermarket wheel/hub manufacturers chose to remain with the established shallow spline. The deep spline quietly faded away after about five years. Campagnolo tends to use different spacing, especially for 10-sp, which is wider than Shimano/SRAM. Different freehub spline pattern aside, you can fudge a Shimano cassette to work in a Campag system, although it's not perfect, but the other way doesn't work. 8, 9 & 11-sp. are better matched.

Cranks really don't care too much, you can pretty well run anything.

Brakes:

Standard calipers can be divided into pre-7900, and 7900 & beyond. The pivot leverage was tweaked with the later generation brakes, and it's not recommended to use new calipers with older model levers, but old calipers with newer levers is a passable but not ideal pairing. Mini-V brakes, cantilevers and road mechanical/CX disc brakes can be used with standard road levers, while full-size MTB V-brakes & mechanical discs can only be used with MTB levers. Some low-spec MTB levers have switchable dual cable anchors for cantilever compatibility.

Although road hydraulics are quite new, and brake systems are typically sold complete, there should be little problem mixing road levers with MTB calipers & vice versa - after all, the orignal R785 caliper is basically a reprinted M785 Deore XT model!

Di2:

First-generation (7970) Dura-Ace 10-sp. Di2 is a complete stand-alone system. Its wiring harness is a multi-core system, which is totally incompatible with everything else. All other systems - 10 & 11-sp. Ultegra, 11-sp. Dura-Ace, XTR & Alfine Di2 use the "E-Tube" twin-core wiring to join it all together. Part of the trickery, which to be honest I do not understand, is that the signals are somehow coded for specific tasks, so they go the right way with much simpler wiring.

In contrast to mechanical groups, where the derailleurs are essentially "slave" components that move in response to the cable pull from the shifter, Di2 derailleurs are the "masters" that determine gear compatibility; for 10-sp, use 6770 derailleurs, for 11-sp, 9070 & 6870 do the job, and can be a mix of levels. Given the wider gear range capacity of Ultegra, it's easy to swap a derailleur into the rest of a Dura-Ace system to allow fitting of a bigger cassette. All road E-tube (6770/6870/9070/R785 hydro brake) shifters, including "satellite" climbing, time trial/triathlon & sprint shifters will work in any combination, with the exception that Ultegra sprint shifters can only pair with Ultegra main shifters. What the technical reason is I do not know, but the plug is specially shaped to limit the connection. With suitable junctions, it is not necessary to have the main shift/brake levers; eg, "climbing" shifters can be used for a flat-bar setup. Junction boxes, wiring & batteries are all fully compatible, but do note the external battery can only be charged with its specific charger.

If changing from 10 to 11-sp, it is only necessary to replace the two derailleurs, chain & cassette (after ensuring wheel compatibility!). I don't know the coding behind it, but 11-sp. rear derailleurs will not talk to a 6770 FD & vice versa. It used to work for a short time after 11-sp was introduced, but system updates have removed that compatibility. 9070 & 6870 can be used in any combination.

I do not know if there is any compatibility between XTR & the road groups. My suspicion is that due to the programming particularly involved with the single shifter operation of Synchro shift, that it will not work with road components. Similarly, Alfine is an unknown mixture. Typically Shimano will deny compatibility, and it's one of those niche things that's not widely available to put to the test.

As far as the software interface goes, the E-Tube software is available for download from the Shimano website. The charger for the internal battery has limited capacity to perform firmware updates, and customise shifter button functions & multi-shift settings. It cannot perform system fault diagnostics; this requires the PCE1 interface box.

I thinks that's pretty well covered it all. I'll fill in the gaps around MTB 11-sp & 4700 Tiagra once I've had my hands on some components to play around with. :-)
Last edited by Duck! on Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby rodneycc » Sat Jun 20, 2015 6:55 pm

Love your work Duck great post mate. I assume all Di2 (both ultegra 6870 and Dura-Ace 9070) can be all mixed and matched? Looking on my next build to put DA cranks and di2 shifters and the rest Ultegra Di2. Wasn't sure if the shifters had to match the derailleurs.
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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby redsonic » Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:42 pm

Thanks a heap Duck, you spoil us on BNA with all your good advice and info :D

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby macca33 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:44 pm

Great post Duck... You're a fount of knowledge. Good work.
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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Duck! » Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:25 pm

rodneycc wrote:Love your work Duck great post mate. I assume all Di2 (both ultegra 6870 and Dura-Ace 9070) can be all mixed and matched? Looking on my next build to put DA cranks and di2 shifters and the rest Ultegra Di2. Wasn't sure if the shifters had to match the derailleurs.


Ah yes, Di2. To keep things nice & tidy I'll drop edits into the OP. :-)
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby gabrielle260 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:31 pm

This stuff is priceless.... So many shop mechanics stick to the Shimano script!

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby coffeeandwine » Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:13 pm

Thanks Duck, always find your advice really helpful!
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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby rodneycc » Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:06 pm

Hi Duck not sure if its worth a section on Bottom Brackets in the above. I thought of this post while writing my questions in my thread:
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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Duck! » Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:01 am

Bottom brackets almost deserve their own thread....

I've answered the relevant bits in your other thread.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Duck! » Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:29 pm

Can't edit original post now, so...
Duck! wrote:Drivetrain:

There are unconfirmed reports that MTB 11-sp. will work with MTB 10-sp, but I am yet to put this to the test. Should this be the case, there will be no compatibility with road 11-sp.

Having just done a 10- to 11-sp. conversion on a MTB & taken the opportunity to have a play, I can confirm that these two shifter/derailleur systems do work together. This is especially handy for those using aftermarket range-extended 10-sp. cassettes that exceed the 36T maximum sprocket capacity of 10-sp. derailleurs, as 11-sp. is capable of fitting under a massive 42T gear.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby MichaelB » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:55 am

Hi Duck,

Have seen a variety of comments and 'hearsay' regarding this, but would like your thoughts.

Planning on a two week trip to Dolomites & Alps next year to coincide with the last two weeks of TdF 2016. :D Plan is to do plenty of riding up some great slopes whilst there. Before I go, there is lots of training to do and some weight to lose, but also, there is some gearing changes that will come for the bike.

Currently running 50/34 & 11-28 11sp 5800 disc setup.

So that I don't die on some of those slopes, a 30 or 32T cassette (Shimano do the 11-32 in 105/Ultegra, as do SRAM) will need to be the base standard. I've also seen the 'Zinn' 1mm washer method writeup (but confused a little as to how it works ...)

Question #1 : Can the 11-32 be used with the std short cage 5800 RD - either with or without the washer?

Then there is also the desire to do something stoopid like tackle the Mortirolo :roll: (as it's close to the Stelvio & Gavia). 24km (AT) 7.5% is bad enough, but being foolhardy and up for a challenge, 11.4km (AT) 11% is madness ...... :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Question #2 : Am I better off planning to use the 11-36 as an 'in case', and install a med cage RD (Can the 11-36 be used with the 5800 Medium cage - specs list only 32T as max capacity) - either with or without the washer?

TIA :D

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Duck! » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:23 pm

The short cage is fine with the 11-32 cassette, no washers required, but where its limit gets pushed is the 16T difference between the front chainrings of the compact, to the point that chainstay length dictates where your join lines up & the extent of slack it allows. Short version, it can be done, although the medium cage is a safer option due to the extra chain length it allows. No road derailleur will fit a 36T sprocket, they simply don't have the top jockey wheel clearance. Being 5800 (or any road 11-sp), you have a problem with out-of-spec compatibility. It won't work with any MTB derailleurs, and there are no MTB 11-sp. cassettes with a big sprocket smaller than 40T. The 32T realistically is the maximum you'll get.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby MichaelB » Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:05 pm

Duck! wrote: .... The 32T realistically is the maximum you'll get.


Cheers very much. 11-32, no big-big attempts or Med cage RD, and lots of training.

Ta !!!



Edit :
Ummm, just had a thought - so how did the Pro-Tour guys do it when they put 34/36T on the rear when climbing Angliru in Vuelta ? Or is that because they used SRAM, and with those levers the WiFli system can do it ?

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Duck! » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:18 pm

They would have been riding SRAM stuff, with funky CX rear derailleurs that have even more capacity than regular WiFli. None of which will work with Shimano stuff....
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby AndyRevill » Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:05 am

Duck! wrote: Short version, it can be done, although the medium cage is a safer option due to the extra chain length it allows.


Sorry if this is a stupid question, what's the disadvantage of the medium cage, Why are there two versions? Is it worth having the medium just for when you want to do some big hills or could you just run it full time even if you're only running an 11-28 for most of the time?

Cheers, Andy
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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Duck! » Fri Sep 04, 2015 2:24 pm

None, unless you're the kind of person who goes into apoplexy at the thought of the weight of a few extra links of chain.

The two sizes stems from the days when triple-ring cranks were the way to extend gear range; the extra length cage is needed to carry the necessary chain to cover the wider gear range. There is no detriment to performance by fitting a tighter cassette with a long derailleur; the clearance between the sprockets & derailleur is the same for both. If it's just occasional hill use, and you currently have a short cage, there is no need at all to replace the derailleur, as long as it is from a series that supports huge sprocket capacity; just avoid big ring/big sprocket.

Only derailleurs introduced in the last four years or so are capable of fitting a 32T sprocket; 4600 Tiagra & 5701 105 (a mid-model update) were the first for 2012 model year, 3500 Sora & 6701 Ultegra (also late-model update) the following year, 2400 Claris, and current 105 & Ultegra (5800/6800) are compatible with 32T. 4700 Tiagra can handle 34T, but compatibility with anything else is questionable. Dura-Ace is limited to 28T.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby AndyRevill » Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:54 pm

Thanks Duck! as usual, a wealth of information - don't know what we'd do without you :D

Cheers, Andy
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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Uncle Just » Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:09 am

Dura-Ace is limited to 28T


I can get a 10 speed 12-30 cassette to work smoothly with either a DA 7800 and a 7900 rear derailleur on two of my bikes. One is a CX with 43cm stays and the other has 42.5cm stays. Maybe the extra capacity has something to do with the stay length?

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Duck! » Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:49 pm

More likely your frames are blessed with longer derailleur hangers. I've had 7800s argue with 27T sprockets on some bikes, but be fine on others.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:58 pm

G'Day Duck
New rotor time for the hardtail and Google skills non existent today :oops:
Can I get away with RT76 6 bolt rotors and M596 callipers?

Thanks
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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Duck! » Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:13 am

Yes. The 595/596 caliper is closely related to the M775 XT, which was designed to pair with the RT76.

You can also use the RT86 IceTech rotor if you tend to get things a bit hot (but the IceTech pads don't fit the caliper).
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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:53 pm

Thanks Duck, legend! :D
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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Duck! » Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:38 pm

Updates for 2017 model:

Some press material for forthcoming 2017-model year componentry was released a couple of months ago, and the related tech info is sneaking into the resources, if you know where to look. Let's start on the road.

R3000 Sora:
Breaking the number sequence, instead of progressing to 3600, this new edition of the Sora group is given the R3000 tag. While it gains the family design trickling down from its big brothers, primarily the four-arm crank and the hidden-cable shifters, Sora remains 9-sp. Given the change in leverage ratio introduced at Tiagra level last year rendering limited compatibility with other 10-sp. gear, I was initially suspicious that the same thing might be done to Sora this time around. Close scrutiny of the compatibility flowcharts clearly indicates that this is not the case, and R3000 is fully compatible with all existing 9-sp. components, and by extension can be played around in mixed-up shifter/derailleur combinations with 7, 8 and non-4700 10-sp.

Disc Brakes:
Nothing drastic here, only the introduction of Tiagra-level, "non-series" RS405. The levers "feature" the same butt-ugly design of the 105-level RS505 introduced last year, but with 4700 (+5800/6800/9000)-compatible 10-sp. mechanical shifting, thus not compatible with older 10-sp. derailleurs. All road hydraulic levers and calipers are cross-compatible.

On The Dirt

M7000 SLX:
This year it's the third-tier SLX group's turn to get a makeover. Not surprisingly, M7000 gets the 11-sp. trickle down from XT and XTR from the last couple of years, but interestingly, also retains a 10-sp. option. Officially the options are 1/2x11 and 3x10, but it's not impossible to mix up other configurations, but a XT or XTR long-cage derailleur would be needed to make a 3x11 set, as the long SLX offering is only for 10-sp, and the 11-sp. version is only available in mid-cage to suit the narrower 1x or 2x configurations. The 11-sp. bits are all fully interchangeable with XT & XTR, while the 10-sp. side retains compatibility with all the previous-generation MTB 10-sp. stuff. The leverage ratios are that close that Shimano & SRAM 11-sp. shifters and derailleur will talk nicely with each other.

M8050 XT Di2:
This is the Big News of the year. XT components are fully two-way compatible with XTR, and also play in limited capacity with road bits. The main new trick introduced with XT is wireless connectivity to E-Tube via Bluetooth. There are two jiggers this can work through; the new MT800 digital display/junction, or WU101, a similar plug-in device to the existing D-Fly. There will apparently be a tablet/smartphone version of the E-Tube software to come, so you can use that or the standard software on a laptop to do all the setup works without plugging in. As far as I understand, the full system diagnostics still need to be plugged through the PCE1 interface box, so the wireless connection is just for button customising, Synchro programming and general updating.

The good bit is this is fully compatible with all other E-Tube-based Di2 systems (in short, everything except original 7970 Dura-Ace 10-sp.). One little catch is, the system will only support one wireless chip, so if you already have a D-Fly unit, you'll have to take it out to fit the new one.

I think that's about it for now; I will add more as it becomes known. :-)
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby MichaelB » Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:44 am

Duck! wrote:Updates for 2017 model:

...RS405. The levers "feature" the same butt-ugly design of the 105-level RS505 introduced last year.....


The term "munted" comes to mind.

If I was buying a new disc bike, I'd either be opting for the old shimano levers or defecting to :shock: SRAM, as they look sooooooooo bad.

Great effort re the notes on compatability :mrgreen:


Wonder what the new DA levers will look like ?

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Re: Duck's Tech - Compatibility Notes

Postby Duck! » Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:42 pm

One little thing I forgot to include, RD-R3000 has had its geometry tweaked over 3500 so it's now compatible with a 34T cassette. As with other models, officially the long cage version should be used with the biggest cassette to ensure sufficient chain wrap, and is probably necessary with wide-range chainring pairings, but the short version will be OK with tighter chainring spacing; its official maximum sprocket is 32T.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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